Print ID: LE21
A very special limited edition of just 200 prints, each signed by Geoff Nutkins and Pilot Officer Gerald "Stapme" Stapleton.
Geoff's painting depicts Pilot Officer Gerald "Stapme" Stapleton of No.603 Squadron Hornchurch racing past his victim, the infamous Oberleutnant Franz von Werra, at Love's Farm, Winchet Hill, Marden on Thursday 5th September 1940.
Please note: each print is individually hand-signed. Signatures are not reproductions.
Gerald "Stapme" Stapleton was born in Durban, South Africa. He joined the RAF in 1939 at the age of 19, and was posted to No.603 Squadron. Flying Spitfires, he went on to become one of the most successful RAF pilots of the Battle of Britain.
In February 1942, he became a flight commander with No.257 Squadron, but then in 1943 he was posted to Kenley as a gunnery instructor.
In August 1944, "Stapme" finally managed to return to flying duties, taking command of No.247 Squadron. Flying Typhoons, he received the Dutch Flying Cross for his part in the Arnhem operation. In December he crash-landed behind enemy lines and spent the rest of the war in capitivity.
Franz von Werra joined the Luftwaffe in 1936. By the Battle of Britain he was adjutant to II/JG3 and a renowned playboy. By September he had nine victories, but on 5th he met his match. After crashing he was taken prisoner.
During his captivity in England he escaped on three separate occasions, only to be re-captured. He was then transferred to Canada where he escaped again and crossed into neutral America. He eventually returned to Germany in April 1941, a hero. In October 1941, his Me109 disappeared over the North Sea.
Franz von Werra's exploits were made famous in the 1950's by the feature film - "The One That Got Away".